Penn State Football

How much did Penn State football rise in the top-25 rankings after beating Michigan State?

Penn State is now one of just nine undefeated teams left in the nation, and its postseason looks brighter with the release of every poll.

The Nittany Lions (8-0) moved up one spot to No. 5 in the latest Associated Press Top-25 Poll, which was released Sunday afternoon. Penn State upended Michigan State 28-7 Saturday after the offense started hot and the defense remained red-hot throughout.

This is the first time the Nittany Lions started 8-0 since the 2008 season. And it’s also the 50th straight week that Penn State is ranked the AP Top 25, making it the country’s fifth-longest streak behind Alabama (189), Ohio State (124), Clemson (78) and Oklahoma (53).

James Franklin’s squad jumped one team this week in the Oklahoma Sooners, which fell five spots to No. 10 after a 48-41 upset to Kansas State. The top four also changed with LSU and Alabama switching spots, so the order is now: 1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Ohio State and 4. Clemson.

Penn State now has 1,302 voting points; it had 1,224 last week.

As it stands, CBS Sports still projects the Nittany Lions to play in the Rose Bowl, which will kick off at 5 p.m. Jan. 1. As long as Penn State beats Minnesota on Nov. 9, it sure looks as if the Rose Bowl is the floor for this group — which is quite the spot to clinch that early.

CBS projects the No. 7 Oregon Ducks as the opponent.

Obviously, a lot can still happen. A win over Ohio State, or a late series of struggles, could still change the face of this season. But, right now, Penn State is clearly in a great spot. And as we like to remind readers every week, the AP Poll offers a nice barometer to how experts are currently feeling about Penn State, before the playoff committee releases its first set of rankings Nov. 5.

The committee’s rankings are the ones that really matter. But, with another week until then, the AP Poll offers a sneak peek at what those could look like.

In the current AP Poll, Penn State remains in solid position compared to the rest of the Big Ten. Ohio State is still the team to beat as it stayed steady at No. 3 — followed by Penn State (No. 5), Minnesota (No. 13), Michigan (No. 14), Wisconsin (No. 18) and Iowa (No. 19).

Indiana is also receiving votes in the poll.

The next AP Poll will be released 2 p.m. Nov. 3. The full top-25 rankings for this week are below:

1. LSU 1,476

2. Alabama 1,474

3. Ohio State 1,468

4. Clemson 1,406

5. Penn State 1,302

6. Florida 1,226

7. Oregon 1,108

8. Georgia 1,093

9. Utah 1,032

10. Oklahoma 1,017

11. Auburn 910

12. Baylor 882

13. Minnesota 778

14. Michigan 744

15. SMU 666

16. Notre Dame 563

17. Cincinnati 524

18. Wisconsin 513

19. Iowa 456

20. Appalachian State 393

21. Boise State 280

22. Kansas State 218

23. Wake Forest 200

24. Memphis 188

25. San Diego State 50

Others receiving votes: Texas 49, Navy 43, UCF 33, Washington 19, Texas A&M 14, USC 11, Louisiana Tech 6, Indiana 4, Pittsburgh 1, Oklahoma State 1, Iowa State 1

Josh Moyer earned his B.A. in journalism from Penn State and his M.S. from Columbia. He’s been involved in sports and news writing for nearly 20 years. He counts the best athlete he’s ever seen as Tecmo Super Bowl’s Bo Jackson.